Saturday, September 13, 2014

Progress on my big, speckled forehead

Another 50 x 50 stitch section done! And this one only took me weeks.

Where I am, 9/13/14.

I have several thousand more stitches to go on my Spanish Eyes self portrait. I know what I'm going to do this fall and winter.

Spanish Eyes is based on this original self portrait.

So many more stitches to go. And library books to make up.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Accidental Bestiality (Or, Sexual amnesia and Cold War vixens)

Here is my latest stitched, card catalog card for a made-up book.  It's a 1951, torrid little page turner called "She Roared: True Tales of Accidental Bestiality and the Good Americans Who Lost their Lives."

She Roared. Mixed media and hand embroidery. 2014.

In the late 1940s, there were several unexplained gorings among the god-fearing, traveling men in upstate New York. In Utica, detectives never figured out how Frank Watta throat got ripped out. And the Poughkeepsie police never did locate the rest of Bill Bettlefield's torso.

Until Josef Lupin put the pieces together, so to speak, and recognized the Red Menace.


Detail from She Roared.


Soon, other men (with missing fingers, torn of ears and other scars) came forward and told their stories, in trembling, chain-smoking, tape recorded sessions with Lupin.

Seems a mysterious bevy of gorgeous, Eastern European women were lurking in the back streets and roadside motels of the Catskills and Finger Lakes. Hardworking traveling salesmen shared harrowing tales of seduction and attacks by these silk-clad, hirsute, surprisingly strong Natashas and Oksanas.

What the vixens look like!


Stalin had found his way into the American heartland and Lupin documented it all in the pages of this book. (Published by the gold folks at Gold Medal Books, New York, New York.)

Building my collection of made up books is fun.

"She Roared" joins my other made-up book, "Frayed Shawl in the Blizzard," a slim volume of poems from 1919 by a homicidal, Inuit seal hunter who falls in love with a lady seal and dies on the a frozen sea.

Yes, I realize both titles seem to feature inappropriate congress between humans and animals. Don't worry... I have other interests.

Next up: A title from a list of actual 18th century novels. (Thanks, Rick!)

Perhaps I'll tackle this title: "Flim-Flams! Or, The Life And Errors of My Uncle, And The Amours of My Aunt! With Illustrations And Obscurities, By Messieurs Tag, Rag, And Bobtail. With An Illuminating Index!"

Who can resist the lure of an illuminating index??

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Flaming Desire (still)

A few years ago, I was obsessed with stitching hazard signs, both real and imaginary. For some reason, the international warning symbol for “Radiation” was one of the first things I ever embroidered, back in 2010. I still have it in pillow form on my bed, even after all of the changes in my life.

Flammable tank. 2014.

I went on to embroider lots of flammable warning signs and a Do Not Enter sign that currently hangs in my living room. But once I began exploring embroidery on watercolors, I haven’t revisited the wonderful world of hazard signs.

One of my first embroideries, Radiation, in 2010.

These days I’m working on a giant x stitch self portrait of my eyes and doing little else with my limited creative time. But I did make myself this little tank top with an appliqued “Flammable” warning sign. A small, quick project that makes me happy.

Do Not Enter, hand embroider, 2011.

I want to revisit the world of hazard signs. Especially ones that I make up. It’s on my very, very long list of projects.

For now, here is a tune for you...  Bill Nelson’s Flaming Desire, from 1982. I used to love back in the day. It’s what plays in my head when I wear this little tank! My heart is still very full.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Half Mad: Another 50 x 50 Stitches

Now I can see out of one eye, at least.

Another square(ish) completed on my Spanish eyes.


This project is insane. Truly insane. What the hell was I thinking? I know that making art requires sitting still, but I hadn't considered just how much sitting still a 6 x 14.5 inch cross stitch would take.

It measures 6 x 14.5 inches. 14 count Aida. 


As I mentioned before, this is my second cross stitch piece. My first design.

I've been binge watching Girls, spending hours alone, bent over the Aida, trying to recreate my own eyes. Rebuilding them, one pixel at a time, in 34 shades of DMC floss.

The colors of my face are tawny.

I feel half mad. I doubt myself.

Mostly, I stitch alone, at night.


I keep going. Hopeful that this will come together. (I may have other personality problems, but no one can accuse me of having a lack of hope!)

It feel like a metaphor for something larger.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

The Mirror of My Right Eye (Coming into Focus)

Last weekend, I drove up to visit my old friend Keefie in the rolling, green Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. I did not bring any painting or watercolor stitching. Instead I dusted off this behemoth.

WIP: Spanish Eyes. My first x-stitch design.


We sat in a cafe -- her knitting, me stitching. It was so nice to get back to my self-portrait x-stitch of my eyes. It's been too long.


Nice to see it coming into focus. But it is huge!

My eyes. They are my high beams, peering out into the world, giving me so much -- as an artist, as a human. My two-way mirrors, into and out from my beautiful life.


Saturday, July 26, 2014

Summer Sticks, Take 1

A tiny piece I finished today that I'm calling Summer Sticks.

Summer Sticks. Watercolor, solvent ink
 and pearle cotton hand embroidery, 2014

It's a small watercolor in the saturated hues that are my current obsession. With a little pair of crossed sticks done in solvent black ink.

I do love the colors. The blue pops in a way I couldn't capture in photos.

Much simpler than the Planets of Durham. Fewer colors and layers. I'm happy with it and I'm ready to try it on a bigger scale.

WIP. Plotting layers.

Next up... Something entirely different, made from painted corks.


This aquamarine blue is catching my eye these days!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Planets overboard

I recognized early on that this piece had too much going on. Too many colors, shapes and textures.

Planets of Durham, stitched watercolor, 2014.


But I didn't care, because it was an experiment with trying different techniques.

Detail of textures.


I haven't figured out how to bring the solvent ink shapes into my stitched watercolors. I think it might be able to work with a far simpler background image.

First go around of planets.


Next time I'll keep it quieter.

I experimented with solvent ink hexagons.


But, even if this is an overboard, failed piece, I like it because I was reminded how much I love color and how much I have to be selective with it.

Too much going on, but it was a fun learning process.

Time to get back to playing.